Fears over job losses as NIMASA delays seafarers certificates of competency renewal
There is heightened fear that seafarers may face job loss as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has delayed the renewal of their certificates of competency (COC) for six months.
The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA), expressed worry that the delay of the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, on the renewal of the CoC for seafarers, poses a serious threat to officers onboard ships with clear indications of them losing their jobs in mass.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group urged the NIMASA boss to sign the certificates or assign a senior officer from the apex regulatory agency to append their signature on his behalf if the seamen must retain their jobs.
According to the seafarers, the NIMASA boss has not signed the CoC for close to six months, a situation seafarers within the officers’ cadre maintained should have led to a protest at the corporate head office of the regulatory body in Apapa, Lagos State.
NMNOWTSSA President, Bob Yousou, while confirming the situation, said most of the officers, who are supposed to be at sea onboard vessels, cannot go back because of the CoC renewal. He explained that the situation warrants protest action from seafarers, but maintained that the union is on top of the situation.
Speaking on the implications behind the signatory setback by the NIMASA boss, Yousou said seafarers may likely lose their jobs in mass if the situation persists.
He said the situation might also lead to more problems for the agency and the Nigerian economy, noting that seafarers are essential workers that ensure the day-to-day transportation of large cargoes across the globe.
The president appealed to NIMASA management to address the situation squarely before it would snowball into protest. The unionist, however, stated that consultations are ongoing to engage sister unions in solidarity support of the need for the government agency to expedite actions to sign the documents and allow the seafarers to resume duty onboard vessels.
Yousou further called on Nigerian seafarers to familiarise themselves with the national secretariat of the union situated at Apapa, Lagos to report any form of complaints about their welfare and the profession.
Yousou maintained that the union is the only body recognised and gazetted by the Federal Government under the supervision of the Ministry of Transportation and that of Labour and Employment through the Trade Union Act, thus relating to seafaring profession.
He stressed that the union is ready to address any form of challenges associated with the profession on legitimate grounds, but added that membership drive is paramount for a sustainable solidarity movement.